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Topic: What are the Essential characteristics of a Zelda game?

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damien33ad

This is a question I have been thinking of lately and has resulted ever since BOTW. And I want to stress: I AK NOT TRYING TO START A CAGE MATCH OVER BOTW. To me, I did not feel as though I had gotten done playing a Zelda game, and I know other people who even loved the game have posted YouTube videos saying certain franchise staples must return in BOTW 2. So, clearly there is a consensus that not all that BOTW threw away should be gone for good. Stepping back then from BOTW entirely, what are some of the key ingredients that you feel MUST be included? Of course these can include things that BOTW invented. Totally open ended.

For myself, and I know we will have convergence the most of us, they are:
-Dungeons
-a story
-a central and ever present antagonist that you meet throughout the game

  • creative bosses/battles

Those are the few I wish to list that I think are absolutely key to any Zelda game, what are yours?

damien33ad

judaspete

There needs to be a good ballance of puzzles, exploration, and combat. Basically a triforce of them. BotW changed the structure quite a bit, but still gave a pretty even combination of those three things. It took me some time to get into it, but ultimately won me over once I found that ballance in the gameplay loop.

judaspete

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sixrings

A boy helping save a helpless princess.

sixrings

damien33ad

I agree exploration is definitely something that is essential and is really where Zelda started

damien33ad

damien33ad

This is a minor thing but essential nonetheless. That iconic sound whenever you figure out a puzzle. That can NEVER change

damien33ad

kkslider5552000

judaspete wrote:

There needs to be a good ballance of puzzles, exploration, and combat. Basically a triforce of them. BotW changed the structure quite a bit, but still gave a pretty even combination of those three things. It took me some time to get into it, but ultimately won me over once I found that ballance in the gameplay loop.

This is basically my thoughts. One of the main reasons I love Zelda (and Zelda-like games) is for its gameplay variety. Some games rely heavily on a single genre or a single specific gameplay mechanic, but its the variety between exploration, combat and puzzle (the variety within those three things) and the fact you aren't just doing the same thing over and over again that makes Zelda so enjoyable for me. There are games out there that are better at one specific thing Zelda also does (often by making that one thing the entire focus), but how they come together is what makes Zelda, Zelda imo. Zelda's better than the sum of its parts (and those parts are often really solid).

Edited on by kkslider5552000

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damien33ad

@kkslider5552000 good points. And now that you say that, I was just playing Windwaker a minute ago and marvelling and the story, and at the same time couldn't wait to get into my next dungeons, all the while having fun thrashing away at those swine warthog things with night lamps. Zelda does many things and it does them all well.

damien33ad

NintendoByNature

sixrings wrote:

A boy helping save a helpless princess.

Super Mario bros?

NintendoByNature

bpapa2020

Adventure and exploration, puzzle solving, and an accessible yet rewarding system for combat.

Every single Zelda game has that.

bpapa2020

damien33ad

In @bpapa2020 yes a sense of solid progression is a must. I personally loved finding a new item and then saying "oh ya, now I can get past that rock and see what is over those mountains!" So I do think a solid progression is a must even if it is done in a different way.

damien33ad

Dezzy

I think basically every Zelda is based on these 4 factors, in order of importance:

1. An interesting world to explore.
2. Good dungeons.
3. Good story and characters
4. Cool boss fights.

Although that said, plenty of Zelda games only manage 3 out of the 4. In fact Breath of the Wild only really manages 2 out of the 4, because it has very little story and the boss fights suck. But it kinda makes up for it by being so good on the first 2 points (counting shrines as dungeons in that case)

I think Ocarina of Time is the only one that does all 4 well. Even my other favourite games in the series usually mess up one of them. Wind Waker has boring dungeons. A Link Between Worlds has almost no story. Twilight Princess has a boring world.

Edited on by Dezzy

It's dangerous to go alone! Stay at home.

jump

The true staple of the series is cutting grass.

Nicolai wrote:

Alright, I gotta stop getting into arguments with jump. Someone remind me next time.

Switch Friend Code: SW-8051-9575-2812 | 3DS Friend Code: 1762-3772-0251

Krull

Do Zelda games have a good story, though? They progress from start to finish, but I generally think they are typical Nintendo titles, in that the gameplay comes first and the story is an afterthought. Which is why pretending there is some overall Zelda timeline linking (not intended) all the narratives was always ridiculous - though that doesn’t mean people can’t have fun trying.

Link’s Awakening has a nice ending, but if you wrote down what happens through the game as a story, it would be terribly thin. Same with LttP. I guess there’s more of a plot than in the Mario games, but no Zelda title is really up there with a contemporaneous JRPG. I don’t see that as a problem, either.

Exploration, combat, puzzles - that is indeed the triforce, as judaspete says. Until BotW there was also a Metroidvania element, in that you would need to acquire new gear to progress to another dungeon and/or beat a boss.

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jump

@Krull Yeah, I find the story is just functional, which makes the game compelling just enough rather than stand out. To me it always seems people use "story" as blunt inarticulate world to actually mean the escapism to the world, some interesting characters (which is rarely Zelda and almost never Link themselves) and the background lore rather than the "plot" of the game itself which rarely deviates from it's established true and tested formula.

Not to say there aren't some fantastic stand out moments but overall people don't recommend or say they love Zelda for the story.

Edited on by jump

Nicolai wrote:

Alright, I gotta stop getting into arguments with jump. Someone remind me next time.

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Octane

I'll take this opportunity to rag on BOTW once more. Because I can, and because it makes me look cooler.

They need to up the enemy variety. BOTW had the biggest world, but the smallest number of enemies, if you don't count the reskins. It was the same bunch of enemies everywhere. Enter the volcano zone; oh look, now you get to fight a fire bat and fire blob. Go to the snowy mountains and you're fighting ice bats and ice blobs.

Get some deku babas in those forests, and wolfos in the mountains. And don't do reskins. That's bad game design 101 according to myself.

Octane

NinChocolate

Stabbing skeletons. It’s really the only essential I need.

NinChocolate

damien33ad

@Creature I honestly don't know how you see that game that way. Best accomplishment in gaming history? Every boss, dungeon, AND shrine is copy pasted. You need to calm down. You have entered...the Ridiculous Zone

damien33ad

damien33ad

I think the complaints of the story are ones of depth. And yes they do lack depth but they are told in an epic manner which makes them all great. Notwithstanding the great offender of recent memory. And I think the metroidvania progression may very well be an essential. One of the big problems with open world games is the inability to feel as though you are getting anywhere. Someone who made a good point in this is Cornshaq for anyone who cares to search on YouTube

damien33ad

jump

@damien33ad You think all the shrines are the same? There was an incredible amount of variety in the puzzles and challenges they had within them.

Nicolai wrote:

Alright, I gotta stop getting into arguments with jump. Someone remind me next time.

Switch Friend Code: SW-8051-9575-2812 | 3DS Friend Code: 1762-3772-0251

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